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First Third

Commonwealth One in SOS United States

I’ve never been one that subscribes to the “new year new me” mentality. You are either going to do something or you aren’t. If you lack motivation, no date on the calendar is going to change that. I simply use the beginning of any new year to start new projects along with matters of housekeeping.

Throughout any given year I tend to accumulate a variety of notes and related ideas to projects I’m working on or plan to work on. For me the week between Christmas and New Year’s is when I do a good amount of organizing. Some things I calendar to act on, others I archive for future reference—an idea I had yesterday, might not be for today but may be for a future tomorrow.

One project that is moving along nicely is the novelization of SOS United States. I’m presently just past the one third mark. In my view the story is transferring well from screenplay to novel. I do find that I’m able to nicely expand on certainly parts of the story that, for matter of running time, just can’t be fit into a feature film.

I can certainly understand the cry from audiences when a favorite book of theirs is transferred to the silver screen and is lacking key moments of plot and/or character development. Generally, the process goes novel first followed by the screenplay. In the case of SOS United States, it’s the opposite. When the draft is complete (still aiming for end of March), it will largely mirror the screenplay with some narrative enhancements.

The President and Prime Minister decide the fate of the world from an underground bunker in SOS United States

But as I’ve done with the production of my films (and former publishing company), I’m not waiting forever for someone to publish. For those of us that call ourselves creatives, nothing is worse than the waiting game for acknowledgement. I’ve known actors that have been working at the craft for years and are still waiting for a breakout role.  Similarly, I know screenwriters still pitching their scripts in the hope that someone will produce. The same of course is true for writers that want to see their book published.

This isn’t to say that you go broke and produce on your own. One does need some sort of recognition that their craft is worthy before investing your own dollars. In the case of my magazine publishing work, I was involved in figure skating for years and worked at a newsweekly. It was just a matter of the doing (and praying!).  As for filmmaking, I had been around the craft through the production of direct response commercials for my publishing company along with my numerous on-camera appearances. Like most that venture into filmmaking, I started with short films before producing features. Even then, I had to make sure I could produce on what I could afford. Self-publishing a book is certainly not an issue. It’s about quality and, of course, distribution and marketing.

In all the aforementioned cases, there was experience and award recognition from festivals. If I didn’t have a combination of both, I don’t believe I would have pushed these ventures to reality. As creatives we certainly have an ego to satisfy. Any creative telling you otherwise, really isn’t speaking truthfully. But I do believe an ego needs to be checked to a degree. In the case of SOS United States the screenplay has been very fortunate to receive several awards and nominations. Now, it’s the process of transferring the story to a book.

Speaking of books, I just finished reading another one of Annie Jacobsen’s masterpieces – Area 51: An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base. This is the second book of hers I’ve read (the first was Operation Paperclip). Jacobsen’s books are not only brilliantly written, but wonderfully investigated into a final piece of work that is both intelligent and approachable to those that want insight into the secret world of government cover-ups and intrigue.

Second Third

Highly recommended!

One response

  1. Hi Mark:

    Thanks for sending me your newsletters. Like your Tweets, they always interest me. Since I first learned that (like me) you had written a figure skating screenplay titled Serpentine more than ten years ago, I’ve felt that we have a similar mindset. Like you, I’m very interested in space and time travel, alien encounters and other fringe science themes.

    If you’re like me, I’m sure you’re never short of project ideas. But I find the idea of working together on a project about “synchronicity” very appealing. However, as a successful auteur, I doubt you’re interested in collaborating with another writer, so I will simply recommend the topic of synchronicity as something you may find rewarding to explore on your own.

    Today I was reading Bob Dylan’s book, The Philosophy of Modern Song and in a space of five minutes he spoke about two topics that I had discussed with my wife an hour earlier. One was the phrase “old-and-in-the-way,” and the second was a discussion with my wife about how illuminated dust is a very important aspect of landscape painting. Surely, this points to something very interesting that may be going on in the background of our daily lives.

    Few film makers have explored this topic. Apart from me, you’re one of the only creative individuals I’ve come across who could create an interesting movie about the concept of synchronicity.

    Good luck with your next film endeavor, whatever it turns out to be.

    F. Leslie Davis Adams, MA 01220 ________________________________

    January 9, 2023 at 7:12 pm

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